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  • Job Offer and Acceptance Rates Fall for College Graduates

    BETHLEHEM, PA—Job offer and acceptance rates for college graduates both decreased in 2018, according to results of a new survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

    NACE’s 2018 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report found that, overall, an average of 40.5 percent of graduates who interviewed for a job received an offer. This is a drop of more than 5 percent from last year’s report. Employers also reported an overall acceptance rate of 66.9 percent, which is a decrease from 68.2 percent in 2017. (See Figure 1.)

    When occurring together, higher offer rates and lower acceptance rates generally are indicators of a more robust college hiring market. Nevertheless, in last year’s market when students received fewer offers, they still tended to be more selective about the offers they did receive.

    The unemployment rate for young college graduates (ages 20 to 24) somewhat explains the anomaly between the offer and acceptance rates. On one hand, the market became somewhat softer for college graduates in 2018, which is why the offer rate was down and the unemployment rate was up.

    However, it is likely that 2018 graduates responded to the trend established over the previous three years when the market was improving, particularly for the previous graduating class in 2017. Graduates in 2018 thought they could do better given how hot the market was for the previous class. Therefore, they were more selective and the acceptance rate dropped.

    Figure 1: Mean Offer and Acceptance Rates, and Unemployment Rate for Young College Graduates: 2015-18

    Year Offer Rate Acceptance Rate Unemployment Rate
    2018 40.5% 66.9% 5.5%
    2017 45.6% 68.2% 3.7%
    2016 45.5% 71.8% 5.4%
    2015 37.6% 73.7% 5.9%

    Source: 2018 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    About the Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report: The 2018 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report explores key aspects of university recruiting. The survey on which this report is based was conducted from June 20, 2018, until September 10, 2018, and was distributed to 930 organizations holding membership in NACE. There were 218 total respondents for a response rate of 23.4 percent. An executive summary of the 2018 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report is available on the NACE website.  

    About NACE: Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates. For more information, visit NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media.